Sister Lavergne Schwender, O.P.
Sister Paul Mary Schwender, O.P.
Sister Lavergne was born in Houston, Texas to Lawrence and ArmindaSchwender. Sister grew up with three siblings and attended St. Christopher Catholic School and then St. Agnes Academy. She graduated in May 1960 and went on to attend Dominican College in the fall. At the time Sister was working for the telephone company and studying business.
“I had felt the calling in high school, but while I was attending Dominican College the calling got stronger and stronger. I felt it was the will of God.” Sister Lavergne entered the convent in 1963.
Sister Lavergne started her teaching years at Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral Catholic School teaching the fifth grade. She went on to St. Pius X High School where she was able to use her teaching and business degrees. She taught business at St. Pius X High School for six years and during this time she attended summer school at the University of Texas at Austin working on getting her MBA. In 1973 she became the Director of Newman Hall in Austin.
In 1978 she took some time out of the classroom to attend law school. She graduated in May 1981 with a degree in law from the University of Houston. “When I graduated I put my resume out to everyone.” She was hired and worked in the Harris County Attorney’s Office and this is where she worked for 21 years. While serving in this capacity, she was asked to use her skills in law and business and help draft the first 9-1-1 legislation for Harris County. Sister Lavergne, and former Dominican Sister Laverne Hogan, saw this legislation pass in 1983 and helped establish an operational 9-1-1 system in 1986. In 2011, the Emergency 9-1-1 Institute (National 9-1-1 Agency in Washington) presented Greater Harris County
9-1-1 with the Outstanding 9-1-1 Program Award.
In 2005, Sister Lavergne became the Executive Director of the Greater Harris County 9-1-1 Emergency Network. She still serves the community in this capacity. “It is one of the largest systems in the country. I am very proud of what we have done with
“Being a Dominican has defined my life. It has made me aware of all social justice issues that as a layperson I would not know about. The community here is incomparable. We are all there for each other. Being Dominican means everything.”
Interview with Sister LavergneSchwender, O.P. in May 2014.